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Ottumwa Stories: The Destination For Live Music

Published July 1, 2023

There’s no better place for live music than Ottumwa, Iowa - it’s the heartbeat of our community and a draw for visitors throughout the year. We’ve got something for all tastes and styles, from world-renowned performances and nationally known bands to local musicians and theater groups, you’ll find just the right groove while you’re here.

The Bridge View Center is one of Southeast Iowa’s premiere performing arts venues. The center is home to a state-of-the-art 664-seat theater and a 30,000-square-foot expo hall, making it the ultimate destination for live shows of all sizes. Audiences have enjoyed Cole Swindell, Hairball, Florida Georgia Line, symphony concerts, and performances by many local musical and theater groups. In July and August this year, Bridge View will host Tesla, Steel Panther, Pam Tillis, Acoustic Fridays, Liverpool Legends, and Pop Evil.

Central Park is situated in downtown Ottumwa between the Ottumwa Public Library and City Hall. The park features an amphitheater stage with picnic tables and benches, the perfect hangout for outdoor performances. Every Thursday evening in June and July, it is home to the Ottumwa Municipal Band, the longest-continuously performing municipal band in Iowa. And on Friday nights in July, South Ottumwa Savings Bank sponsors Live After Five, an evening of free local music, food for purchase, and a beverage garden.

In February 2019, the Congregation of B’nai Jacob gifted the synagogue to the American Gothic Performing Arts Festival. Construction was completed in 1915, and it was listed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 2004. AGPAF continues to honor the heritage of this incredible center of faith by creating a new legacy as the Temple of Creative Arts. The building serves as a gathering for intimate theatrical performances, recitals, art shows, and live performances of many kinds.

You'll also find live music, especially on the weekends, at our local restaurants and bars. Follow Meet Ottumwa on social media to see performances scheduled at Godfrey's Ale House, Owl's Nest, Uncle Buck's Bar & Grill, and Chommy's Bar & Grill.

As summer turns into fall, many local performing arts groups will begin their 2023-24 seasons. Ottumwa is home to the Indian Hills Community College Fine Arts Department, the Ottumwa Area Community Chorus, the Ottumwa Symphony Orchestra, the Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra, and the Ottumwa Area Arts Council.

For an up-to-date calendar of live music happening in Ottumwa and Wapello County, click HERE.

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